LAN, Ford Foundation announce landmark partnership to help entrepreneurs grow

February, 25, 2020

The Lankan Angel Network (LAN) today announced that it has signed a landmark grant agreement with the Ford Foundation to catalyze the growth of Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem. The grant of USD 300,000 is the first of its kind for the Ford Foundation in Sri Lanka and will be utilized to reach entrepreneurs across multiple sectors island wide.

While Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem has grown rapidly, it is still very much focused in Colombo. The grant will focus on growing skills, entrepreneurship and reaching more people operating at the grassroots level. To achieve these goals, LAN will collaborate with key, long-term ecosystem partners working across the island.

Through LAN, the grant will help support the I AM HER program which empowers female entrepreneurs and develops the landscape for women-led startups in Sri Lanka; launch an Angel Fund to support early-stage startups, and; support Sri Lanka’s largest annual venture competition, Venture Engine, which has a mission to empower entrepreneurs. Other initiatives will focus on founder & funder education.

The Ford Foundation has a long history of working to advance innovation, fairness, opportunity, and human dignity around the world, including over 60 years in South Asia. "We look forward to our partnership with Lankan Angel Network and their implementation of programs to accelerate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sri Lanka in order to address income and gender inequality," said Pradeep Nair, Regional Director for Ford Foundation, India, Nepal & Sri Lanka.

The grant serves as a testament to the alignment of values between LAN, its partners and Ford Foundation, focused on empowering startups, spurring innovation across every level of industry and promoting equality and shared growth.

“Partnering with the Ford Foundation is an honour and a privilege for LAN. It's an endorsement of our efforts and strengthens our vision for the next decade. With this support, we aim to promote entrepreneurship across the country,” said Mano Sekaram, Chairman, LAN. “Furthermore, we believe this partnership will provide much-needed expertise to accelerate the growing startup ecosystem.”

“Since the inception of LAN, one of our goals have been to reduce inequality via the empowerment of entrepreneurs. I am happy to note that a global organization such as the Ford Foundation, recognized our vision and have partnered us to accelerate the process via the eight programs planned for year 2020/21,” said Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Founder LAN/Managing Partner BOVCapital.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.

LAN is a platform for angel and private investors who invest in high growth early stage Sri Lankan ventures with the aim of creating an impact by reducing inequality.